Aurelia Wills


Breathing Life Into Characters

9 am- 1 pm November 6, 2021

via zoom through the Loft

Creating a character who seems real is one of the most fascinating and challenging aspects of fiction writing. How does a writer depict fictional people who seem to come alive? In four intensive hours of writing exercises, readings, and discussion, we’ll explore that question. We will practice the art of imagining human beings. In this class, writers will work on character development: imagining the details of a character’s body, past, living room, bad habits.

In focused writing exercises, we’ll figure out details of where our characters live and work, their routines, the things they hide. Writers will practice the imaginative art of embodying character. We’ll discuss both common mistakes and the more subtle aspects of characterization. Discussion will cover the myriad unseen ways character work contributes to story and how to decide which details to include. Although this is a fiction class, all genres and levels are welcome; be prepared to write! Come work hard and have fun in an atmosphere of artistic camaraderie. Writers should come with a character or two in mind whom they would like to develop. A few short readings will be emailed shortly before the start of class. Please read what you can, print out or have onscreen, and have on hand to refer to during our class time.

Worldbuilding in Fiction and Nonfiction

9 am – 1 pm December 4, 2021

via zoom through the Loft

Every storyteller hopes to draw readers into a world that seems real. How does a writer build a convincing world or evocatively render a real, specific place? We’ll figure out how it’s done by closely reading excerpts of fiction and nonfiction (i.e. Jesmyn Ward, Ha Jin, Chekhov, David Mitchell, Sarah Broom, Anuk Arudpragasam). Then we’ll try our hand with a variety of writing exercises that hone in on specificity, how to organize detail, and the relationship between point of view and description. Writers of both fiction and nonfiction will come away with an enlivened sense of how to build vivid, emotive worlds in their work, places that are both convincing and active parts of their story.